Love them or hate them, dating apps are here to stay and none is more (in)famous than Tinder, the original handheld matchmaker.
Launched in 2012, Tinder and the associated ‘swiping right’ has become a lighthearted pastime for many singles in Australia, but concerning statistics from the New South Wales Police Department show one in five women who are sexually assaulted meet the perpetrator online.
Earlier this week, authorities launched an internationally recognised dating safety campaign, encouraging people to ‘Ask for Angela’ in bars and restaurants if they feel unsafe.
Hospitality staff are being trained to discreetly assist uncomfortable daters by removing them from the situation and contacting police on their behalf.
FEMAIL created a list of the warning signs you should watch out for when entering the uncharted waters of a Tinder date.
Recent statistics released by New South Wales Police showed one in five female victims of sexual assault met the offender online (stock image)
1. Dodging personal questions
While some people simply value their privacy and take time to share facts about themselves, purposely dodging basic questions about family, jobs and other generic subjects is regarded as red flag for first-time daters.
2. A friend of a friend
This may seem contradictory, but NSW Police statistics showed 50 per cent of sexual assault victims knew their assailants in some manner, either from work, social media or a through a friend.
Being vaguely acquainted with your date means you are automatically more likely to let your guard down and feel at ease.
With an estimated 50 million users worldwide, the sea is big enough to find a date with no former friendship strings attached.
Since its launch in 2012, Tinder has become increasingly popular among singles, particularly millennials; as of May 2018, the app had an estimated 50 million users worldwide
3. Being a little too smooth
Research revealed the vast majority of men who have sexually assaulted women were previously well-respected in their communities and peer groups, and described as ‘socially competent’ by those who know them.
4. Requesting a meeting in private
A UK-based research study showed half of women embarking on a first-time online date met their partner in a private residence.
Authorities and experts recommend meeting in a public place, particularly on your first meeting.
5. He claims to be a millionaire
Many dating sites have optional personal descriptors such as profession, job title and salary.
UK-based journalist Radhika Sanghani said sharing this information online is a warning sign as people who earn significant income actively seek to avoid strangers taking advantage of their wealth.
A complex world: The rise of app dating has prompted international debate about online safety and vetting
6. Your date is a decade older than you
NSW Police reported a trend of older men targeting markedly younger women.
For female victims of sexual assault between the ages of 16 and 30, the average offender was just over nine years older.
7. He has a violent history
This can be difficult to determine when meeting someone for the first time, but statistics showed more than 25 per cent of those interviewed as ‘person’s of interest’ in NSW sexual assault cases had a history of alcohol-related violent incidents in the last four years.
Using photographs of attractive celebrities as a profile picture can indicate a person has something to hide
8. Using another person’s profile picture
Dating profiles fronted by pictures of Chris Hemsworth, Kit Harrington and co. should be given a wide birth from the outset.
According to Whimn, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is – the person at the other end of the phone may have something to hide.
9. Posing with a tiger
The trend for posing with real life tigers became so popular among hopeful male daters, it sparked a Tumblr account called ‘Tigers of Tinder’ in 2014.
Ms Sanghani said it shows a need to overcompensate based on the idea that women are attracted to exotic travel and danger.